4. Whatever happened to Illumiroom?
So before we get address the elephant in the room (and I promise we will) I want to get to a smaller question I have about Microsoft. One area where Microsoft seems to excel is in peripherals. Kinect is the industry leader in motion-controlled gaming and that is a big reason for why they continue to dominate console sales. It's smart. Consoles no longer have the edge on graphics and most games aren't exclusive to consoles anymore. It seems like these giant corporations like Sony and Microsoft have to develop expensive technologies that can make the gaming experience better because that is all they have left.
So naturally, when a video came online showcasing this cool new Xbox projector thing called the Illumiroom, we were intrigued. It seemed to use a projector to scan the room and make virtually every surface (walls and tables and sleeping cats) into a part of the game. It expands the field of vision beyond the TV screen and it looks like it could be a lot of fun. The problem is besides a few promotional videos, Microsoft hasn't mentioned anything about it.They are too busy describing features no-one wants (I promise we'll get to it) instead of using this cool new technology to distract everyone. "You don't like DRM. You mean D (pronounced 'the') RooM? Look over there. Illumiroom is shiny!" Now that is how you do a press conference.
3. When is the South Park RPG Being Released?
This game sounds sick: Jew is a class. You fight crab people. Apparently there is a level where you have to go up someone's butt. Awesome. South Park can do no wrong. THQ, however, can do some wrong. Earlier this year the developer of this sweet looking game went under and had to give South Park: The Stick of Truth to another company. Ubisoft took THQ's Stick and everything gamewise still looks good - except we still don't know when this game is going to be released. Late November is a safe bet, but who's to say? Just tell us, Ubisoft. Here is what your press conference should sound like.
Matt and Trey walk on stage. "November 19th" Twenty-five minutes of straight applause. Matt and Trey leave. (Them being in crazy outfits is optional.)
We want answers Ubisoft, mmkay? We're super cereal.
2. How is that stupid Wii U Pad going to fit into Super Smash Bros Universe?
Have you guys ever been playing pickup basketball and your friend wants to play but he isn't good but he's your friend so you let him play anyway? You pass him the ball enough so that he feels like he's contributing but not so much that he could potentially ruin everything. Well that friend is the Wii U gamepad. Wii U still doesn't seem to know that to do with that giant thing. If you're playing Mario Bros, the pad makes platforms even though there are already enough platforms to play the game without the additional ones. It's pretty dumb. Rayman has a similar pointless guy that activates things that were clearly just added to a finished game to give the pad something to do. It had been a year and the Wii U pad hasn't really added anything to the games it is a part of. It has just been there.
I bring this up because (and I don't want to spoil the surprise for anyone) it is pretty widely accepted that Nintendo is unveiling a new Super Smash Brothers game during E3. Masahiro Sakurai is tweeting about it, so get excited. The only question is, how is that big clunky controller going to fit in? Am I going to be the fifth guy whose job it is to spawn items, because that sounds awful. Or are we just going to use it as a glorified menu screen, because that was so difficult in the past? I am hoping Nintendo has an innovative idea for how the pad will fit in. If not, then at least give us a playable Waluigi. Either of this would be acceptable.
1. What the hell is Microsoft going to do?
George R. R. Martin couldn't have written a better bloodbath that is the week leading up to Microsoft's Press Conference. In fact, a while ago I made a list of the The Top Ten Nerdy Questions We Hope Will Be Answered in 2013 and the third question was "What will the Next Generation of Gaming Be?". In it I compared the whole game dilemma to the War of Five Kings in Game of Thrones and wouldn't you know it, X-Box was the X-Stark 360. And while it clearly should have been MicroStark, the old gods and the new have read that article and this week Microsoft had its own Red Wedding of Death.
If you haven't seen the news or been on Reddit in the past week, let me catch you up. Basically Microsoft said a bunch of things everybody knew (The console supported DRM, the console had to connect to the internet once a day, the Kinect was always on) then The Guardian published a story about Verizon giving phone records to the Government which brought to light the bigger issue that other companies have been doing this for a while and one of the first was...you guessed it... Microsoft. Now I'm not trying to say that it is a big conspiracy or something. All I am saying is this couldn't have come at a worse time for Microsoft. Here's why I still have hope.
This XBOne does not yet exist. They could easily walk back a few of these statements and make everyone feel better about their console. Microsoft is not against changing their products to fit a specific consumer demand. Look at Windows 8. There was no Start button. Everyone got angry. Boom. 8.1 will have a Start button because we asked for it. People have been vocal about what they don't like about XBOne. I think it is crazy to assume they won't make a couple of changes. After all, to quote the wise Theon Greyjoy "Don't look so grim. It's all just a game."